"Unique for the Grade" Tris Speaker 1912 S81 Helmar Silk (SGC EX 5) – The Only Encapsulated/Graded Example!
Boston Red Sox Hall of Famer Tris Speaker will forever stand as one of our National Pastime greatest centerfielders, with his batting and fielding feats unquestionably placing him right alongside the likes of Cobb, Mays and DiMaggio. The "Grey Eagle", as he was commonly called, was the author of a .345 lifetime batting average via 3,514 safeties that included a record-setting 792 doubles. Speaker revolutionized the centerfield position by playing almost behind 2nd base, enabling him to gather the most outfield assists in baseball history (449) including an incredible 35 in his 1909 rookie season! It is therefore no secret why vintage collectors seek his most prized artifacts, with this outstanding SGC "EX 5" 1912 S81 Helmar Silk miraculously standing as the SOLE encapsulated example extant! Indeed, not a single other Speaker S81 Silk has found its way into a professional grading services holder, an ironic occurrence considering that along with Cobb, Speaker was the premier centerfielder of his time.
Distributed in 1912 by the Helmar Tobacco Co. as a premium for their Turkish Trophy cigarettes, the S81 Silks measure approximately 6-3/4" x 8-3/4" and include brilliant images for 25 of the game's top players. A majority of the illustrations are also seen on the 1911 T3 Turkey Red cards, with the most illustrious silks being Cobb, Mathewson, Johnson, Alexander and Speaker. Rarely surfacing for the taking, a majority of these obscure keepsakes are safely tucked away in private collections, with this SOLE encapsulated Speaker offering placing it as one of his most extraordinary mementos. The silk depicts a classic Speaker batting stance likewise utilized for his aforementioned T3 cabinet, with the timeless image portraying rich red hues and impeccable clarity.
His traditional Red Sox uniform with "Red Sox" across the front chest, red stockings and striped red cap are robust, and the only negligible blemish preventing a higher grade is the light diagonal fold/crease extending from the upper right edge through the center of the silk (a standard flaw considering these silks were typically folded over the past 108 years). Atypical for S81's, three of the borders reflect uncompromised straight edging, with only the lower edge exhibiting some moderate fraying. Most significantly, there are no obtrusive superficial flaws or color fading, with both the front and verso revealing clean surfaces. Our utmost compliments to the previous owners who preserved this Cooperstown worthy offering in spectacular fashion. A true "1 of 1" graded masterpiece, it represents one of the "Grey Eagle's" foremost scarcities, meriting a solidified place in any world-class collection!
MIN BID $1,000